November being National Adoption Awareness Month is a great start to bringing adoption talk to the forefront within conversations, but the reality is there are millions of people touched by adoption and even more who have misconceptions about it. One month isn’t long enough! The conversation should continue all year, especially to rally around those needing support with their adoption choices and many who are considering it as an option. Experiences need to be heard to bring about hope and change.
- Blog – This my favorite way to talk about adoption because I love words and the craft of writing. Writing allows me to process what I am feeling in my adoption journey. My hope is that it helps another gain insight on the life of a birthmother or feel a connection in some way. Write your story down! It has value and should be heard. Someone out there will read it and be touched by it. Even if just one person reads your words and for the first time felt they weren’t alone in their situation or felt a glimmer of hope, isn’t that worth it?
- Wear a T-Shirt – This is my second favorite way to spread awareness because you never know who will strike up a conversation about adoption because of the shirt you are wearing! I received mine from Talk About Adoption and wear it proudly to the park with my kids, grocery shopping, support meetings—even Disney World! There are many options to choose from out there, etsy.com is a wonderful place to start your search.
- Call the Radio – Many years ago, I felt the pressing urge to call my local radio station. Which, if you know me well, is quite unheard of. I am the one who never raises her hand in class or will sit on the sidelines at birthday parties, happy to just observe. On that day, for whatever reason, I knew I needed to call and share my story. The station asked callers to respond to the question, “What did you survive?” With the nervous voice of a then-21 year old driving down the highway, I told them I had survived adoption. I shared how it was heartbreaking and humbling to make the choice to place my daughter when I was 16 years old. I explained that I had survived, and now with some time and perspective, had found peace. I also talked about what our open adoption relationship looked like 5 years later. I knew that day I needed to call—not to boast in my choice—but hoping that it would help another listener out there. Look for opportunities to share your story. Be brave and make the call! You may never know how it will touch a life.
- Contact the Newspaper – November may be a key time to contact your local newspaper or another media outlet to share your story, but it is needed all throughout the year! Mother’s Day is another good opportunity to highlight the different kinds of mothers out there. Birth mothers and adoptive mothers have such important roles in an adoptee’s life. Encourage your newspaper to highlight adoption beyond November.
- Leave Cards in Random Places – Why? Because it may help direct someone who finds it at the right time, in the right place. I love to follow Talk About Adoption on Instagram to see where the account’s creator and fellow supporters are leaving Talk About Adoption cards. Cards are propped against the bench at a park, on the pregnancy test aisle at Target, at a doctor’s office, the bank—the places are endless. And again, you never know where it will spark conversation or who will find it that needed it. You can contact Callie at Talk About Adoption for cards to leave around your neighborhood.
- Social Media – The power of social media is mind blowing these days. With a simple hashtag and a heartfelt story you can go viral. #shoutyouradoption recently gained me thousands of new viewers and shares on my blog’s Facebook page. Use those social skills as a platform to keep the conversation going all year long. I’ll see you over there!